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The immediate future of the Kalkaska Tea Party and Citizens for Better Government...
We will not be going away...
(439 words in story) Full Story
No one can accurately predict life's events, the effects of this singular one will change the lives of several people I can think of immediately, and already has...
This will not change the mission of our Tea Party in any way however, merely its focus...there is much to do in Kalkaska to restore the County's government to the control of the people living here, and we will continue to pursue this goal...
This is not the outcome any of us wanted to see, as we were approaching our goal of petition signatures to have the issue placed before the people on the May ballot...
Our condolences to Brian Donnelly's friends and family...
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By JGillman, Section News
This is truly entertaining. Its become big news up here, and we had it here first.
Though Kalkaska county prosecutor Brian Donnelly's efforts at recalling at least three county commissioners may not be over, it appears he has (his allies attempting the recall) failed initially to clarify the language to the satisfaction of the elections board. In a turnaround however, the prosecutor himself appears to be the only one out of the process who may have to defend his job.
From a press release:
Gathering for the approximately 2000 signatures (a few extra are typically gathered to overcome duplicates, mistakes etc..) to put Donnelly's name on the February ballot recall are expected to begin immediately.
(2 comments) Comments >>
By JGillman, Section News
(Democrat who runs as a Republican)
The last election has had its consequences not only of statewide or national significance, but also in local areas as well. In Northern Michigan's Kalkaska county, we could have up to 5 casualties, as a shoot out in the OK Corral begins.
Four newly elected county commissioners, Stuart McKinnon, Dave Ritter, Tony Martini and the Chair, Mike Cox (all Republican) are being recalled by the Kalkaska Democrat party efforts and with active assistance from the local prosecutor, Brian Donnelly, a [Democrat] as well. The recall effort has apparently been spawned by the prosecutor's objections to the commission's refusal to reinstate funding to his department. The funding cuts had been made by the prior county board's actions. It is also presumed to be payback for an attempt to have an outside consultant look at the prosecutor's office as well as other county operations by the 'Axe Man':
The board voted to retain the services of attorney John Axe of Axe and Ecklund, PC, to provide consulting services to the county for a cost not to exceed $9,375.
The prosecutor refused access to this consultant, who could not then perform the tasks as assigned by the board. This affected the other county office holders as well, who became less inclined to cooperate in the cost saving exercise the board had commissioned.
Continued below the fold
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For his Job?
Remember that guy from Michigan who went around stabbing people? That guy, Elias Abuelazam, has been arraigned on a charge of assault with intent to murder. And while he has only been charged for one attack, more charges can be expected. Abuelazam, to date, is accused of stabbing 13 people in Flint, 5 of those resulting in death. There is also 1 Ohio non-fatal stabbing, an additional 3 non-fatal attacks in Virginia, and an investigation into a probable link to a 2009 homicide stabbing in that same state.
Last Thursday, Abuelazam was extradited from Atlanta to Michigan. The extradition process alone was drawn out and costly.
The Virginia connection has problems however. It seems while the Flint attacks were linked to the Virginia attacks, a full two weeks before the extradition process, there was no attempt to contact the Virginia officials by the Genesee prosecutor. In fact, the prosecutor for Loundoun County in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Jim Plowman publicly criticized David Leyton for not returning his calls or messages. On one occasion, Plowman claims he asked to speak directly to David Leyton regarding the Abuelazam case.
"You'd think they'd return my phone calls, especially since I have information that will help them,"
Plowman described leaving a detailed message for an assistant prosecutor, asking to talk directly with Genesee County prosecutor David Leyton. It seems he is still waiting:
"I know multi-jurisdictional cases are tough, but I should be able to get my counterpart on the phone."
Indeed.. a little more below..
(470 words in story) Full Story
Cross-posted in The Wizard of Laws
"And then I was really like, holy macaroni."
This was the reaction of a Michigan judge upon learning that one of the witnesses in the prosecution of two drug dealers was actually an informant, that the prosecutor withheld the information from defense attorneys, and that police officers lied about it on the witness stand. To compound matters, the judge went along with the deception, claiming that if the witness's true role was disclosed, "he would be dead tomorrow."
The judge, the prosecutor, and the police officers are now charged with various crimes centered about perjured testimony in the trials of two drug dealers in 2005. As detailed here and elsewhere, an informant tipped police about the existence and location of a large quantity of cocaine, along with plans for moving it. When the "movers" arrived, police were waiting, and they arrested everyone. The informant was also arrested, to protect his role in the affair.
During the subsequent trial, two police officers lied on the stand, testifying that they did not know about the informant's role in advance. In fact, the informant was paid for his information. The prosecutor knew the testimony was false, so she approached the judge and discussed it with the judge -- alone -- in the judge's chambers, although a sealed transcript was made of the conversation. The judge agreed to go along with the deception, purportedly out of fear for the informant's safety.
So. let's review the cast of our little drama:
-- 2 drug dealers with 47 kilos (about 103 pounds) of cocaine, worth approximately $27 million;
-- a paid police informant;
-- two police officers who knew of the informant's status and involvement, but lied about it on the witness stand;
-- a prosecutor who was aware of the perjury and met with the judge in order to conceal it; and
-- a judge who, once apprised of the perjury, went along with the cover-up.
This is our criminal justice system? How screwed up have things become when the prosecution and the police lie in order to convict two drug dealers (who were caught redhanded, by the way) and the judge goes along with it? Has "the ends justify the means" leached completely into the courts from our political system?
You may ask, what is the relevance of the informant's status? It goes to the initial stakeout, stop, and arrest, and whether the police had probable cause to arrest and search the defendants. If probable cause did not exist, any evidence seized (namely, the 47 kilos of cocaine) would be declared inadmissible, and the charges would go up in smoke. So, in order to get a conviction, the prosecution had to preserve the admissibility of the evidence seized during the arrest, and their zeal (or incompetence or fear) led to the perjury and the cover-up.
For her part, the judge believed that the prosecutor was not "good enough to handle that case," and said she feared the informant would wind up dead if his status was disclosed to the defense attorneys, whom she "just didn't trust."
The actions of the police, the prosecutor, and the judge cannot simply be chalked up to a desire to get bad guys off the streets. Undoubtedly, that was part of it, but such a desire cannot override the law. When she assumed her post, the judge took the following oath:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the constitution of this state, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of [judge]according to the best of my ability.
This oath, prescribed by our state Constitution, does not say that the judge can support the Constitution sometimes, or when compliance will be easy. The judge's oath imposes ongoing duties and obligations that cannot be shirked. A judge's job is not easy and often entails very difficult decisions with no clear answer. Concealing perjury, however, is never an option.
The same goes for the prosecutor and the police. There is no indication that they could not have gotten the convictions if they had revealed the informant's true role, and the defendants later pleaded guilty. While they should not have taken affirmative steps to put the informant in danger, they cannot lie, not even to save him from a fate that may have been preordained when he chose to involve himself in the world of big-time drug dealing.
With all the tremendously important issues implicated in this case, however, I can't help thinking that we should not have someone on the bench who reacts to surprise developments by saying, "Holy macaroni!"
(3 comments) Comments >>
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